By Pratch Rujivanarom
Labour Minister Pol General Adul Sangsingkeo yesterday announced that in order to prepare for the large number of migrant workers who are expected to show up in the final week of the registration deadline at the end of the month, three steps are being taken to cope with the challenge.
The three measures are: reducing the registration process; extending the opening hours of the One Stop Service (OSS) centres; and adding more registration channels.
A large crowd of migrant workers and their employers were seen queuing up at the OSS centre at the Labour Ministry yesterday to register their personal records and work permits. Many people said that they had to wait for more than six hours before the registration process began.
Adul said that currently there were around 1.7 million migrant workers who were required to register their personal records and be issued a work permit. However, as of yesterday, only 727,902 workers had gone through the process. This has caused concern that the registration of 959,571 other migrant workers may not be completed in the eight days remaining before the deadline.
The Labour Ministry started registration of migrant workers on February 5 and expected it to be completed by March 31. The procedure was aimed at letting migrant workers, who did not come to work in Thailand through a memorandum of understanding, to legally register their work permit in Thailand and get a working visa for two years.
Adul said that the delay had occurred because many employers were too lax in bringing their employees to register during the initial days of the registration period and now they were rushing to beat the deadline.
“We acknowledge that there are nearly 1 million migrant workers who have still not registered their personal records and work permit while the deadline for the registration is approaching. So, the ministry has come out with three urgent measures to ensure they can register in time,” he said.
He said that the first measure was to reduce the registration process by allowing migrant workers who already had a passport or Certificate of Identity (CI) to only report to the OSS centre to renew their visa and then they can finish the registration after March 31.
The second measure was to extend the operating hours of four OSS centres at the Labour Ministry in Bangkok, Chiang Rai, Ratchaburi, and Ranong to 24 hours starting from yesterday.
The third measure would allow the migrant workers to report to 86 local Employment Offices, in addition to 80 OSS centres around the country. The migrant workers can also register online at https://www.doe.go.th.
“I would like to ask the migrant workers who have not completed their registration to take this opportunity before the deadline, because we will not extend the registration period,” Adul said.
“Those who fail to register their permit and renew their working visa will have to leave the country, because their visa will expire and they will be charged with illegal stay in Thailand and could be fined up to Bt50,000.”
According to the government, this was the last chance for migrant workers who had previously worked illegally in the Kingdom to convert their status to legal migrant workers before the new Working of Alien Act comes into force at the end of June.